You’re snuggled on the couch with your cat catching up on your favorite Netflix series when you suddenly notice that the cat’s eyes are fixed on you. The animal stares at you so keenly as though he wishes to communicate an urgent message.
It’s easy to dismiss this incident as a random act of curiosity the first time it happens to you. But if your adorable feline companion keeps staring at you more often than not, you may want to find out if there’s a deeper explanation behind this creepy behavior.
Now, there are numerous reasons why cats stare at their owners or objects in general. They range from natural curiosity to attention-seeking behavior and even sheer aggression. The onus is on you as the cat owner to try and figure it out.
Fortunately, we’ve conducted the research and uncovered all the possible reasons your cat could be staring at you so intently. Read on and be informed.
Reasons Your Cat Is Staring At You
Cats are highly territorial. These animals have a way of laying claim to everything in their living space. That includes their toys, feeding bowls, scratching posts, and even their human owners. Therefore, your cat could be staring at you just for being in his space.
A short stare is usually a sign that your cat simply acknowledges your presence. But extended eye contact might suggest that the animal is uncomfortable with you encroaching on his territory.
Curiosity is a cat’s second nature. Cats are arguably the most curious of all domesticated pets. That’s because they’re both predator and prey. As such, they need to maintain situational awareness at all times. A subtle vibration in the attic or basement is sure to pique their interest.
Your cat may choose to display his situational awareness by observing your every move. Perhaps you cringed or twitched and the animal is now curious about your next movement.
3. Waiting for a Cue
Some feline stares are aimed at exacting a signal from their owners. Your cat could be staring at you while awaiting an important cue.
For instance, you may realize that whenever you take out a can opener, your cat runs towards you in anticipation of food. The animal will give you a fixated stare, hoping you’ll use the tool to open up his canned food.
4. Asking For Something
Is your cat always the one asking (through eye contact) to play, be fed, or be pet? And have you always been granting these wishes? Unknown to you, you may have inadvertently encouraged the staring behavior.
Your cat now understands that the only way to get what he wants is by giving you an intent stare. The more you reward this behavior, the more the animal will continue staring at you whenever he wants anything.
5. Wanting To Spend Time With You
Staring could also be a sign that your cat simply wants to spend time with you. The animal may not necessarily be looking for petting or grooming. He just wants your attention so you can know he’s around and possibly hang out together.
Affectionate stares are common in cats who’re strongly bonded with their owners. These stares are almost always accompanied by purring and blinking as well as holding the tail and ears up.
6. Trying To Wake You Up
If a cat is staring at you and blinking while he’s only a few inches from your face, he could be trying to wake you up.
Perhaps the animal is waking you up because he wants to be fed. Or, he simply needs you to be awake so you can keep him company.
This is probably the most uncomfortable among the many reasons cats stare at their owners. Cats have developed complex methods of communicating their anger or frustration. And direct eye contact is, unfortunately, one of them.
You can establish that your cat is annoyed by observing other telltale signs of anger. They include body stiffening, tail swishing, turning of the ears to the side, and pupil dilation.
8. Fear and Anxiety
An intent stare could also be a sign of fear and anxiety in cats. That’s especially if a cat is also hiding behind an object or crouched down with his tail tucked under his body. Dilated pupils, licking of the lips, hissing, and growling are other indications of a scared cat.
Several things might have spooked your cat. Maybe it’s something you just did or a strange noise the animal heard outside the house.
9. Medical Condition
Lastly, eye contact could be a way your cat is telling you that he’s feeling a bit under the weather.
This can happen consciously where a cat is directly trying to communicate the fact that he’s ill. It could also happen subconsciously where an underlying medical condition predisposes the cat to stare blankly at anything in front of them.
Should I Stare Back At My Cat?
The answer to this question can be yes or no. It all depends on the reasons your cat is staring at you.
You can stare back and even wink at a happy cat. However, maintaining eye contact with a visibly angry or scared cat might only escalate the tension.
Unfortunately, it may not always be easy to immediately discern your cat’s emotions. Therefore, you’re better off not staring back at him.
What If I’m Uncomfortable With My Cat Staring at Me?
Cat stares are generally harmless. But having those cute, little eyeballs fixated on you might sometimes become a little too uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are numerous safe ways to break or redirect creepy cat stares.
First off, ensure you understand why your cat is staring at you in the first place. That’s the only way to adopt the right solution. If your feline friend has a habit of giving you the stares whenever he’s famished, you can ensure his food bowl is always full before taking your much-needed rest.
Secondly, never yell at or hit a staring cat. This might only worsen the behavior.
You can explore the following tips to deal effectively with an overly staring cat;
• Ignore the cat completely
• Avert your eyes
• Add an object between you and the cat
• Distract the cat by redirecting his attention to something else
• Distract the cat by making a slight noise
Most importantly, remember that cats love positive reinforcement. So, always reward him for not staring at you.
There are many reasons cats stare intently at their owners. And while staring may look off to most pet parents, it’s one of the natural ways cats communicate their feelings. So, the best way to cope with this behavior is to try and figure out the underlying causes.